Obuasi-based Club pays surgery costs for four patients

Fifty 50 Club, an Obuasi-based Non-Governmental Organisation, has presented a cheque for GHC25,000 to support surgeries of four patients with various medical conditions. The Club, made up of employees of AngloGold Ashanti and its subsidiaries, and workers of other corporate organisations, has a membership of 245 who have been contributing monthly to support charity. Blessing Ama Woode Kwamba, a two-year-old girl from Obuasi, diagnosed with Ventricular Septal Defect (hole in heart) at the National Cardiothoracic Centre, Korle-bu Teaching Hospital, was given GHC10,000 towards a procedure/surgery to correct the defect. James Danquah, a 42-year-old man, diagnosed with an acquired heart disease (Severe Mitral Valve Regurgitation) at the University of Ghana Medical Centre, also received GHC10,000 for surgery. Nine-year-old Federica Owusu Yeboah, who has undergone treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (cancer) but needs a CT scan of her neck and chest to ascertain whether she is completely cured, also received GHC500 for the scan. A six-year-old sickle cell patient, Frederick Agyeman Duah, with increased susceptibility to infections, low blood levels, and bone and joint pains, was supported with GHC1,000.00. Mr Jacob Edmund-Acquah, the President and Founder of the Club, lauded members of the Club for their generous contributions towards its objectives. He was optimistic that the donations would ease the plight of the patients and appealed to corporate institutions and individuals to support the activities of the club. Dr Kwadwo Anim, the Executive Director of AngloGold Ashanti Health Foundation, lauded the Fifty 50 Club for the donation, which he described as a swift intervention to help the beneficiaries undergo treatment. ‘The socio-economic background of the beneficiaries make it difficult for patients to undergo the right treatment early hence some of them live with the conditions for a longer time, thereby resulting in seeking advanced solutions to their plight,’ he said. While there was advancement in technology for the treatment of heart conditions in particular, financing had always been a challenge, Dr Anim said, and called on individuals and organisations to emulate the example of the Club to donate towards the treatment of such diseases. Madam Gladys Adu, a mother of a beneficiary, commended the Club for going to the aid of her daughter. She said battling the disease had brought huge burden on the family’s finances and welcomed the intervention of the Club. The Fifty 50 Club has since 2020 made many donations towards the cost of surgeries or medical treatments for children and other individuals with various heart/medical conditions. It has also supported community clinics with medical equipment and supplies, providing scholarships to brilliant but needy students, and granting many people with financial setups for their businesses.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Newmont Africa committed to progressing the Ahafo North Project in a responsible manner

Newmont Africa says it is committed to progressing the Ahafo North Project in a responsible and sustainable manner with due regard for the human rights of all persons affected by the Project. The company said it respected and proactively engaged in good faith dialogue to reach mutually acceptable solutions. A statement issued in Accra by Mr David Johnson, the Director, Communications and External Relations, Newmont Ghana Gold Limited, said the Ahafo North Project had enjoyed strong community, regulatory, and broader stakeholder support and approval. The Company was reacting to media publications alleging connivance with the police to arrest some members of the Concerned Farmers Association in its Ahafo North Project’s mining area. It said the Ahafo North land access and Concerned Farmers’ claims in compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, Newmont had accessed over 98 per cent of land required to begin construction of the Project. About 2,500 farmers and landowners have been compensated, following negotiations and agreements with the Resettlement and Crop Rate Negotiation Committees, jointly constituted by impacted farmers, property owners, traditional leaders, as well as community and government representatives. The statement said some 21 farmers, belonging to the Concerned Farmers Association, however, refused to abide by the outcome of the negotiations and subsequently declined enumeration of their farms and structures. They have been uncooperative despite the extensive engagement and mediation efforts aimed at addressing their concerns, including interventions by eminent traditional chiefs, youth leaders, and other relevant stakeholders. It said the Group was demanding individual negotiations that could result in potential rates beyond what was agreed by the Resettlement and Crop Rate Negotiation Committees, which rates were significantly more than the assessed professional and government valuation rates or lower negotiated rates leading to unfair compensation in comparison to the already 2,500 compensated farmers and further dissatisfaction with the compensation process. The statement said following full compensation for over 98 per cent of lands required for mine construction, Newmont commenced clearing of these compensated lands within the Ahafo North Project’s mining area. Unfortunately, some members of the Concerned Farmers Association have actively and aggressively disrupted land-clearing activities by the company and its contractors. The company has largely resorted to good faith engagement and dialogue in these instances, to reduce tension and maintain peaceful co-existence. It said there was an incident where the company’s exploration team inadvertently impacted one of the farms that had not yet been compensated for. In this instance, the company engaged the owners of the land, who are members of the Association to amicably resolve the impact and they initially agreed for the temporary exploration activities to proceed while adequate compensation is discussed. However, one Mr John Mensah, who is the chairman of the Association, mobilised other members of the Association whose land had not been impacted, to halt the exploration drilling activities on the said parcel of land, threatening to burn the exploration drill rig, among other equipment. The exploration activity was stopped, the rigs demobilised, and the drill holes covered. The statement said in a separate incident, Mr. Mensah led some Association members to attack Newmont’s mining team during a land-clearing exercise on a parcel of land that had been negotiated and compensated for by the company. It said this time, the company’s vehicle was vandalized during the attack, prompting the company to report the incident to the police and the members were arrested and arraigned before the Duayaw Nkwanta circuit court on 30th August 2023. The statement said the court granted them bail and directed them not to return to the company’s mining area until the determination of the case by the court. Unfortunately, the Association members ignored the court’s directive and proceeded to disrupt work at the mining area the very next day, September 1, 2023, leading to the arrest of four of them, including Mr. John Mensah. It said the Concerned Farmers Association made claims in the media publication that members of the Association were on their way to their farms when they noticed that the farm of their chairman, Mr Mensah, was being destroyed by Newmont. The statement said the land in question was not owned by Mr Mensah, his not a tenant farmer and the said land had been fully assessed and due compensation paid to the farmland owner, following the owner’s request to Newmont to carry out the assessment, and Mr Mensah’s refusal to allow for same. It said Mr Mensah was duly notified of the landowner’s request for assessment and payment of compensation and after the assessment, Mr Mensah proceeded to harvest all the mature teak trees in the farm before the Newmont team started the land clearing. It said Newmont Africa remained committed to progressing the Ahafo North project in a responsible manner, and in line with the due human rights requirements and processes. ‘It will continue constructive and organised dialogue with all stakeholders on all issues of mutual concern to ensure the long-term sustainability of the business and the jobs, incomes, tax revenues and other benefits the company provides,’ it added.

Source: Ghana News Agency

African Leaders commended for commitment towards climate change issues

The Institute of Climate and Environmental Governance (ICEG) has commended the leaders of African nations for their collective commitment to addressing the pressing issues of climate change, as expressed in their Communique of the African Climate Summit. The ICEG acknowledged the importance of the historic gathering and recognized the positive strides made by African nations in fighting climate change. A statement issued in Accra by Mr Hamza S. Suhuyini, the Executive Director of ICEG, said the Communique represented a significant step toward a more sustainable and resilient future for the continent. ‘The African Climate Summit Communique, while well-intentioned and addressing crucial issues, falls short in several key areas and leaves much to be desired in terms of concrete action and accountability.’ It said the Communique lacked specific, measurable, and time-bound commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with vague goals such as ‘working towards carbon neutrality,’ but it does not provide clear details on how these goals would be achieved or what specific actions will be taken by African nations. The statement said the Communique said there was the need for financial support from the international community, but it did not outline a clear plan on how African nations intended to allocate and manage these funds effectively. ‘While ICEG supports the call for a new SDR of US$650billion for climate crisis response and operationalisation of the Loss and Damage Fund, without a transparent and accountable climate governance framework by African countries, there is a risk that funds may not reach the intended beneficiaries or be misused,’ it said. It said the Communique did not not establish clear mechanisms for enforcing commitments made by African nations and without effective monitoring, reporting, and enforcement mechanisms and there was a risk that some countries may not take their climate commitments seriously, undermining the overall effectiveness of the summit’s outcomes. The statement said while adaptation was undoubtedly important, the Communique seemed to prioritize adaptation measures over mitigation efforts. Mitigation, which involved reducing emissions, was crucial in preventing further climate change, and African nations should play an active role in this regard. It said the Communique should have emphasized a balanced approach between adaptation and mitigation strategies. The statement said the Communique reflected the views of African leaders and did not sufficiently incorporate the voices of civil society organizations, youth climate activists, ‘indigenous communities, the private sector, and marginalized groups who are disproportionately affected by climate change. Inclusivity is crucial for developing holistic and effective climate solutions.’ It said the Communique should have placed a stronger emphasis on fostering innovation and technology transfer to help African nations leapfrog to cleaner and more sustainable technologies and this was essential for long-term climate resilience and economic development. The statement recommended that the AU Member States should be charged to develop renewable energy governance frameworks with requisite legal backing within their respective states by 2024. It said effective governance frameworks with legal backing would prove useful in guaranteeing transparency in the use of climate funds and it would foster clarity in policy formulation and implementation. It also said the AU should require an annual percentage allocation of Member States GDP towards renewable energy investments while also demanding a percentage of the current energy shortfalls in member states to be filled with renewable energy. The statement said this would guarantee continuous investments in clean energy while at the same time reducing the cost of transitioning from conventional sources of energy to renewable energy. They should introduce regulatory incentives and frameworks that encourage banks to offer green financial products. This includes providing tax incentives, reduced capital requirements, or favourable treatment for green investments. This would encourage private sector involvement in renewable energy development. The statement said it should have provided more specific commitments, a balanced approach between adaptation and mitigation, clear plans for resource allocation and enforcement, greater engagement with the private sector, and a stronger focus on technology and innovation.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Prioritize ethical leadership at all levels of banking – Governor urges banks

Dr Ernest Yedu Addison, Governor, Bank of Ghana, has urged banks and financial institutions to prioritize ethical standards and leadership at all levels of operations to promote professionalism. He said ethical compliance ensured professionalism, a more sustainable and trustworthy financial industry but the lack of it put all stakeholders at risk, especially shareholders and depositors and eventually would destabilise the financial sector with spillovers on the economy. ‘Strictly adhere to regulatory requirements and collaborate with regulators to maintain a strong and well-regulated financial industry. Prioritize ethical leadership at all levels,’ the Governor said. Delivering a Keynote address at the 60th Anniversary launch of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIB) Ghana, on the theme, ‘Redefining professionalism in banking through ethics,’ Dr Addison said ethical standards should evolve in response to changing societal values, technological advancements, and emerging risks. He said ethical banking recognized interconnectedness of stakeholders’ interests and it was imperative that banks considered the interests of shareholders, employees, customers, and the broader society, when making business decisions. The Governor said the lessons drawn from the banking and financial sector clean-up pointed to the fact that boards, executives, and line managers should set the tone at the top by adhering to high ethical standards and promote the standards throughout the organization. He said banks must invest in ethics training and education for all employees, develop clear and comprehensive codes of conduct, establish robust whistle-blower protection programmes and promote transparency in financial transactions and decision-making processes. ‘The Bank of Ghana remains committed to providing the supportive frameworks to ensure ethical and sustainable banks. The Bank has commenced development of a Business Model and Viability Analysis Framework to enhance its supervisory practices for assessing the sustainability of banks’ business models,’ he said. Dr Addison commended the Institute for being a reliable partner, providing relevant and cutting-edge courses for banking and other professionals to build their capacity. The CIB had its Presidential Charter and became a fully-fledged Institute in 2019. It boosts of about 2000 professionally qualified bankers and close to 10,000 student bankers. Mr Benjamin Amenumey, President, CIB Ghana, said passion, commitment and dedication had enabled CIB to consistently raise the bar of banking education and professional development, adding that they were determined to continue shaping the future of banking in Ghana. ‘We will strive to match the ever-evolving landscape of the financial industry and ensure that our graduates remain at the forefront of ethics, professionalism and innovation,’ he said Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, Minister for Education, in his remarks, said ethical standards in all spheres of life were necessary for achieving personal and organisational goals. He called on banks to support education and imbibe the best ethical standards in the young as they pursued various career paths, including banking.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Minister of Lands and Natural Resources commits to comprehensive security for mining companies

Mr Samuel A. Jinapor, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, has reiterated the government’s commitment to safeguarding the concessions of licensed large-scale mining companies by implementing comprehensive security measures to protect their operations. Speaking at the Mining for Development Forum on Tuesday, the Lands Minister called for a strong government and mining companies collaboration to ensure effective protection of the concessions. Speaking on the theme: ‘Ensuring the Security of Operations in Ghana; The Role of Stakeholders,’ Mr Jinapor noted that the fortunes of the large-scale mining firms had a direct bearing on the government’s economic programmes. ‘It is only when your concessions are secured that we can work to optimise production, and sustain the gains we have made over the years.’ He said ensuring the security of mining operations was not only the duty of Government but required a multi-stakeholder approach and a shared commitment from all stakeholders, including Government, mining companies, mining communities, traditional leaders, civil society organisations, academia, multilateral organisations, development partners, among others. He said, ‘It is through such a collaborative approach that we can develop comprehensive strategies to address all security issues from project inception, through exploration and mine development to mine closure.’ He urged the mining companies to support Government in the implementation of the community mining Scheme, including making available land for it. ‘It is not about confiscating mining concessions and parcelling them out to communities for mining. Nor is it about pitching foreign investors against citizens. It is about equitable distribution of resources from the mining industry, and ensuring that communities that host these resources benefit from their exploitation.’ He said the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources was working with the Ministries of National Security and Defence to ensure adequate protection for operations of members acquiring concessions that extend beyond the country’s borders. ‘Let us harness our collective expertise, passion, and commitment to build a mining sector that not only generates wealth but also ensures the well-being of our people, protects our environment, and promotes sustainable development,’ he added. The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Miners, Dr Sulemana Koney, said the forum would come out with measures to ensure the protection of concessions and contributing to the community and country development. He commended the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources under the leadership of Hon. Samuel A. Jinapor for its consistent efforts in seeking to address the teething challenges of the large-scale mining firms. The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Miners, Dr Sulemana Koney, in his welcome address, underscored the importance of mining in Ghana’s economy and the significant contribution to growth and development through direct domestic taxes, dividend payments and forex exchange. He said the producing member companies of the Chamber continued to play a crucial role in deepening the forex exchange market through the repatriation of a significant part of their mineral export revenue. In 2022, the producing mines returned US$ 1.41 billion through the central bank and US$ 2.73 billion via commercial banks. Overall, the repatriated gross mineral revenue was US$ 4.14 billion, which translates into 73% of the producing members’ total mineral revenue in 2022. He said recent invasions and attacks on defensive workers had created a sense of debilitating insecurity. ‘When a mine is unsecured, it does not only threaten continuous production but the livelihood of the ecosystem that depends on the mine: communities, government, suppliers, employees, and shareholders,’ he said. He said the inability of duty bearers to decisively quell the wanton breach of security at one mine serves as an incentive for other miscreants to perpetrate similar brazen disregard for the rule of law. ‘This inertia partly fuels the deteriorating security climate at the mines with adverse consequences for all stakeholders. These hikes in security breaches impair the quality of mine assets in Ghana and raise the insurance premia, cost of credit, and replacement cost of equipment,’ he said. In a speech read on his behalf, Mr Joshua Mortoti, President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, said the apathy and apparent lack of decisive action by the authorities in the face of incessant and growing attacks on mine employees and assets created the perception that mining companies should be their own keepers. He emphasized that the mining companies were not against creating jobs for Ghanaians in the sector, but committed to socially and environmentally responsible and safe mining. Mr Mortoti called for continuous to collaborate to ensure that our mining laws and regulations are enforced by all players in the sector, irrespective of nationality. The Forum was attended by the Deputy Minister responsible for Mining, George Mireku Duker, the Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko, President of the Central House of Chiefs, Odeefuo Amoakwa Buadu, players and captains of the Mining Industry, and some security personnel, among others.

Source: Ghana News Agency